They put it in print… the Stamp Act…

August 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-7-17-2015-Stamp-ActSome of the most noteworthy events in history have humble beginnings. Such is the case with the announcing of the passage of The Stamp Act in The Gentleman’s Magazine, March, 1765. Under the Historical Chronicle section is the rather inconspicuous note, “Lord Mansfield, as speaker, and the Earls Gower and Marchmont, by virtue of a commission from his majesty, gave the royal assent to the following bills: …for laying a stamp duty in the British colonies in America.”  While this official notification of the Stamp Act most likely flew under the radar of most readers of the day, there is no doubt regarding its significance. I wonder which one-liners which go unnoticed today will prove similar ten years from now?

The put it in print… America will become the greatest nation ever!

June 15, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-6-15-2015-America-Greatest-Nation-EverOne of the joys of reading old newspapers is the opportunity to discover what were, in fact, very prophetic statements made long before anyone could have known they would become true. As they say, hindsight does provide 20-20 vision.

One of the best is found in The London Chronicle” issue of Nov. 2, 1765. Some 150 years before the per-eminence of America as a world power both military and economically, a writer begins an article: “Little doubt can be entertained that America will in time become the greatest and most prosperous empire that perhaps the world has ever seen…”.

How true that statement would become, but to predict that future nearly a dozen years before America would even declare independence from the mother country was truly a stretch. It’s a neat find in an otherwise inconspicuous newspaper.

The City of Boston receives noteworthy journalism award…

March 9, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog_Guy_11_2012The following is a note we recently received from one of the collector friends of Rare & Early Newspapers:

Happy to report that the section “Boston Journalism Firsts” and other contents of the Boston Journalism Trail site were used to nominate Boston for the Historical Site in Journalism Award given by the American Society of Professional Journalists, the largest journalists organization in the United States. The organization gave its 2014 award to Boston, thus for the first time honoring a whole city for the totality of its contributions to journalism. The organization’s president is to present the city’s mayor with a memorial plaque to be placed in a public space in downtown Boston in 2015. Thanks for all your support over the years.

To view details:

http://www.spj.org/news.asp?REF=1260

http://www.emerson.edu/news-events/emerson-college-today/boston-recognized-journalism-history#.VL0ipnZ6_YI

How Paul Revere’s Ride Was Published And Censored IN 1775…

February 6, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Todd-AndrlikTodd Andrlik, founder and editor of Journal of the American Revolution, and curator, author and editor of Reporting the Revolutionary War: Before It Was History, It Was News (Sourcebooks, 2012), has assembled and written a great piece of scholarship in regards to Paul Revere – specifically, how he was viewed by his contemporaries, using the lens of original newspapers of his day. An excerpt is as follows:

Because of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s famous poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” most people think that Revere was critical to the start of the Revolutionary War. In trying to dispel Longfellow’s myth of a lone hero, modern scholars have portrayed Revere as just one rider among dozens on 18-19 April 1775, and argued that his previous rides for the Patriot cause might have been more important. A survey of newspapers from 1774 and 1775 shows that in fact those earlier rides had made Revere prominent enough that he did stand out in reports of the fighting at Lexington and Concord, even as Massachusetts authorities kept the extent of his activities quiet.

Paul Revere was a man who wore many hats. He was well known throughout New England for his engravings, his silver work, his Masonic fellowship and his political activity. Plus, in 1774 and early 1775, Revere worked as an express rider for the Boston Committee of Correspondence and the Massachusetts Committee of Safety. He frequently carried letters, newspapers and other important communication between cities, including Boston, Hartford, New York and Philadelphia. Revere’s early dispatches related to some of the biggest American events of the eighteenth century, including the destruction of the tea, the Boston Port Bill and the Suffolk Resolves. In December 1774, at the age of 39, he rode to Portsmouth to alert local Patriot leaders that the Royal Navy was on its way to seize gunpowder and arms from Fort William and Mary. Newspaper printers would eagerly print Revere’s tidings, frequently attributing…

This is a must-read article! View Todd’s scholarship in its entirety at:

How Paul Revere’s Ride Was Published And Censored In 1775

 

A gem from the American Antiquarian Society…

January 30, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-1-30-2015In celebration of its 20oth anniversary the American Antiquarian Society published a beautiful  exhibition catalog titled “In Pursuit Of A Vision – Two Centuries of Collecting at the American Antiquarian Society”. Featured are a fascinating array of books, documents, maps & other paper ephemera, as well as several very rare & unusual newspapers we felt worthy of sharing with our collectors (with permission from the A.A.S.).

93. “Moniteur de la Louisiane“, New Orleans, February 21, 1810

The Moniteur de la Louisiane, established in 1794 by Louis Duclot, was the first newspaper published in Louisiana. Because so few early issues have survived, its history is difficult to piece together. The earliest known issue — since lost in a fire but preserved in facsimile — was dated August 25, 1794; all other extant issues are from the 1800s. Although founded when Louisiana was under Spanish control, the Moniteur was published primarily in French, the language of Louisiana’s majority population. Over time the newspaper grew in size from octavo to quarto to folio, and it also change publishers. This 1810 issue lists Jean Baptiste Le Seur Fontaine as publisher, A role he had assumed by 1803 and perhaps as early as 1797. Publication apparently ceased in 1814. When Fontaine died that year, he bequeathed to the city of New Orleans his personal file of the Moniteur.

This is one of two issues of the Moniteur sent to AAS by Edward Larocque Tinker as part of his very substantial gift of early Louisiana newspapers and periodicals.

They put it in print…

January 12, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

Blog-1-12-2015Tabloid journalism was alive and well in 18th century America. If you thought “sleazy” reports were a concoction of the 20th century, you would be wrong, as newspaper editors had, for hundreds of years, few concerns about slandering those they found offensive or who were on the other side of the political fence.

The “Pennsylvania Ledger And Weekly Advertiser” of December 24, 1777” was a Tory newspaper (loyal to the King, not the American cause of independence) and on page 2 the editor printed portions of a letter from George Washington to his wife, intercepted on its route. Obviously no friend of Washington’s, he even publishes the letter as a separate piece and offers for sale in his shop: ” “The printer has received from New York a few copies of an intercepted letter from General Washington to his Lady, dated June 24, 1776, which he is now selling at his shop in Market Street. The following is an extract.”

For United We Stand…

December 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

“And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.”

(God, as written by Mark in Mark 3:25)

“United we stand, divided we fall.”

(Aesop)

“A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

(Abraham Lincoln)

“For united we stand; Divided we fall. And if our backs should ever be against the wall. We’ll be together…”

(The Brotherhood of Man)

Bringing people together is no small task. Those who have the ability to rally factions behind a common cause are few and far between. Those who can do so for a noble cause are a true rarity.

While we all acknowledge Abraham Lincoln’s efforts to this end as exemplified in both his “House Divided” speech and yet again in his “Gettysburg Address”, it was another relatively unknown true American patriot who was instrumental in doing the same soon after the close of the American Revolutionary War: Dr. Benjamin Rush. Below please find (and enjoy) the full text of  “Address to the People of the United States”, which begins:

“There is nothing more common that to confound the terms of the American revolution with those of the late American war. The American war is over; but this is far from being the case with the American revolution.”,

and concludes:

“PATRIOTS of 1774, 1775, 1778—HEROES of 1778, 1779, 1780! come forward! your country demands your services!—Philosophers and friends to mankind, com forward! your country demands your studies and speculations! Lovers of peace and order, who declined taking part in the late war, come forward! your country forgives your timidity, and demands your influence and advice! Hear her proclaiming, in sighs and groans, in her governments, in her finances, in her trade, in her manufactures, in her morals, and in her manners, ‘THE REVOLUTION IS NOT OVER!’ “, Dr. Benjamin Rush, MD.

What a tremendous rally for all Americans to unite behind a noble cause: the establishment of a nation like none other!

To read the complete text of this amazing speech, go to: American Museum, January, 1787Blog-12-8-2014

A gem in the American Antiquarian Society…

July 28, 2014 by · 1 Comment 

In celebration of its 20oth anniversary the American Antiquarian Society published a beautiful  exhibition catalog titled “In Pursuit Of A Vision – Two Centuries of Collecting at the American Antiquarian Society”. Featured are a fascinating array of books, documents, maps & other paper ephemera, as well as several very rare & unusual newspapers we felt worthy of sharing with our collectors (with permission from the A.A.S.).

New-England Courant63. “The New-England Courant“, Boston, February 5, 1722

As a member of the family which controlled the Boston Globe,and as the newspaper’s treasurer from 1893 to 1937, Charles Henry Taylor avidly collected publication on the history of American printing and journalism. He generously donated to AAS anything it lacked. Among his gifts were runs of many important American newspapers, including this issue — the second earliest at AAS — of The New-England Courant.

Only the third newspaper to be printed in Boston, The New-England Courant was published by James Franklin from 1721 to 1726. During the Courant’s first two years, its popularity was bolstered by the publication of fourteen letters from one “Silence Dogood,” the nom de plume of James’s younger brother and apprentice, Benjamin Franklin. But the Courant had a contentious history, as James was often at odds with the provincial government, the powerful Mather family, and other influential Bostonians. In 1723 James was imprisoned by the Massachusetts General Court and ordered to suspend the Courant, a ban which James circumvented by issuing the paper under his brother’s name. Even after Benjamin ran away to Philadelphia in October of that year, the Courant continued to appear under this imprint until it ceased publication.

The front page of this issue contains an extensive article on the smallpox inoculation controversy then raging in Boston. While Cotton Mather and other clergy supported inoculation, many Bostonians disagreed. James Franklin opposed the practice in this and many subsequent articles.

What got the juices flowing for Thomas Paine…

June 30, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The Pennsylvania Magazine” was one of only two American magazines which published during the years of the Revolutionary War, including a June, 1775 issue containing a great coverage of Battle of Bunker Hill and Washington’s appointment as Commander-In-Chief, and ending with the July, 1776 issue which included the Declaration of Independence.

The Pennsylvania Magazine

The Pennsylvania Magazine

For most of its 19 month life, which began in January, 1775, it was edited by the famed Thomas Paine, employed by the publisher Robert Aitken. Aitken was often frustrated by Paine’s procrastination in providing material, as mentioned in Isaiah Thomas’ “History of Printing in America”:

“…Aitken contracted with Paine to furnish, monthly, for this work, a certain quantity of original matter; but he often found it difficult to prevail on Paine to comply with his engagement…Aitken went to his lodgings & complained of his neglecting to fulfill his contract…insisted on Paine’s accompanying him & proceeding immediately to business & as the workmen were waiting for copy. He accordingly went home with Aitken & was soon seated at the table with the necessary apparatus, which always included a glass, and a decanter of brandy. Aitken observed, ‘he would never write without that.’ The first glass of brandy set him thinking; Aitken feared the second would disqualify him, or render him intractable; but it only illuminated his intellectual system; and when he had swallowed the third glass, he wrote with great rapidity, intelligence and precision; and his ideas appeared to flow faster than he could commit them to paper. What he penned from the inspiration of the brandy was perfectly fit for the press without any alternation or correction.”

Gentleman’s Magazine: a little gem packed with history…

December 27, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

As dealers we have been very true to our focus on rare newspapers, and—for the most part—only newspapers. Yes, we have ventured into the occasional old document, pamphlet, colonial currency and the other items I’ve found intriguing, but otherwise we offer only historic newspapers.

But one big exception has been 18th century magazines. As is likely the case with most collectors of history, the over-riding aim is to find historic news reports dated as early as possible, and the availability of newspapers runs quite thin before 1760 (the London Chronicle dates to 1755 and is the single biggest source of period reports back to this period) if British titles are accepted, and only back to about 1787 if American newspapers are the only option.

It was many years ago that I discovered one of the best titles of the 18th century for period news reporting, and it wasn’t even a newspaper. It is a magazine. More specifically, “The Gentleman’s Magazine” from London. Having begun in 1731, its pages captured news reports concerning America which could never be found in period American newspapers, and rarely found in period British newspapers. From its earliest years “The Gentleman’s Magazine” printed reports on the creation of the colony of Georgia, the founding of the town of Savannah, with many issues mentioning James Olgethorpe. From  1736 are reports of William Penn laying out the city of Philadelphia, and the 1730’s has several reports of pirates operating in the Caribbean and the Atlantic, as well as famous highwayman Dick Turpin. Slave revolts in Jamaica, “Customs of the Jews” and other smaller reports from the American colonies round on the 1730’s.

The 1740’s have several items on the slavery issue which would be a topic of discussion on both sides of the Atlantic well into the 19th century. And relating to slavery are several issues of the 1770’s on famous slave/poet Phillis Wheatley.

There are early reports on the sport of cricket, and much on the Jacobite Rebellion including mention of “Bonnie Prince Charlie”. Other curious reports from the 1740’s include text on Handel and his “Messiah”, Ben Franklin mention with various electricity experiments, the death of astronomer Edmund Halley, the origin of the game of chess, and a curious item on a northwest passage to China through Canada. Military events in periodicals are never-ending, and this decade prints the text of the Treaty of Aix la Chapelle, among many other military events.

The 1750’s are highlighted by much reporting on the French & Indian War between the French & the British, with mention of Quebec, Crown Point, Fort DuQuesne and all the other major battle sites. Keep in mind that the American colonies were British possessions at the time so there was much interest in
The Gentleman’s Magazine” has nice reporting on Ben Franklin’s lightening rod experiments, and there is also a terrific—although inconspicuous—mention of what would become known to all Americans as the Liberty Bell. Under the heading:  “America” and with a “Philadelphia, May 10” dateline from 1753 is a report reading:

“Last week was raised and fixed, in the State-House Steeple, the great bell, weighing 2080 lb. cast here, with this inscription,

‘Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, to the inhabitants thereof.” This is how they reported the installation of what would become known as the Liberty Bell.England in reporting events relative to the colonies. A special feature of Gentleman’s was their very early mention of George Washington, a Major in the Virginia military in 1754 and 1755 when he lead others into battle in Pennsylvania. Such mention of Washington in an American newspaper would result in a price well beyond the budget of most collectors.

The 1760’s in “The Gentleman’s Magazine” are highlighted by the growing tensions between the colonies and England. The full text of the hated Stamp Act is found within its pages, and just a year later is found the formal repeal of the Stamp Act by the British King. Other Acts of Parliament harmful to colonial relations are reported as well.

News from the 1770’s begin with the Boston Massacre (and the trial details of those involved), reported in Gentleman’s in nice detail. All the events of the Revolutionary War received excellent coverage, from the Boston Tea Party to Lexington & Concord, the Battle of Bunker Hill, Saratoga, White Plains, Ticonderoga, Cowpens, Guilford Court House and the other military initiatives of the war with considerable mention of George Washington, Gage, Gates, Burgoyne, Ethan Allen, Howe, Greene, Cornwallis, John Paul Jones, and others.  There is even much detail on the infamous Benedict Arnold/Major Andre treason.

Historic documents are found within the pages of “Gentleman’s Magazine” as well, including the Articles of Confederation, the “Causes & Necessity for Taking Up Arms”, the Constitution of the United States (in 1787), and the most desired document of all, the Declaration of Independence. At a time when a period printing of the Declaration in an American newspaper will sell for over a quarter of a million dollars, to be able to purchase a 1776 magazine with a timely printing of the Declaration of Independence for under $4000 is a rare opportunity for any collector.

The 1780’s begin with the closing events of the Revolutionary War, including the surrender of Cornwallis to Washington at Yorktown, Virginia, and shortly thereafter the formal text of the Treaty which ended the Revolutionary War. There are reports on Captain James Cook’s famous voyages of exploration, the obituary of Benjamin Franklin, and with attention focusing more on European reports later in the decade are reports of the fall of the Bastille and the French Revolution, and into the 1790’s with the mutiny on the Bounty, the guillotine execution of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, then into the early 19th century with the Battles of Trafalgar and Waterloo. Gentleman’s also printed the text of Washington’s final state-of-the-union address, and then just a few years later, his death.

A very nice bonus found in many of the pages of Gentleman’s is maps & plates. They cannot be found in newspapers of the day. Printed separately from the regular pages of the issue and tipped within, most of the maps fold out to be double the size of the issue, and they includes some of the more desired maps one would want of the 18th century, including Philadelphia, the colonies (from 1755), Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, the Caribbean, St. Augustine, the entire western hemisphere and so much more. Many collectors choose to frame the maps separate from the issue as they are very decorative and are typically dated in an upper corner.

Plates include the Philadelphia State House, later to be known as Independence Hall; St. Philip’s Church in Charleston, the fort at Bunker’s Hill, Ben Franklin’s ‘Square of Squares’, the guillotine which beheaded Louis XVI and his wife, a slavery medal, and even a plate of the Garden of Eden. Plus there is so much more.

The “Gentleman’s Magazine” is a little gem packed with all the history one would want to find from the 18th century. Measuring about 5 by 8 inches and typically having about 40 pages they take up very little room in a collection. But best of all it is an accessible title, and at prices far below what would be found in comparable American & British newspapers of the same period.

There can be little excuse for holding back on buying the best events in American history if one is willing to add this famous & successful title to their collection. And there certainly will be a time when even this title will become very scarce as others discovery it as the little gem just begging to be collected.

Note: Rather than include an endless number of (annoying) links above, if you have interest in any of the topics discussed, simply go to the following link and enter the topic into the search field: www.RareNewspapers.com

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